DENVER – A previously deported Mexican national illegally living in Denver was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury this week on immigration and drug charges.
This indictment was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh, District of Colorado, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Kumar C. Kibble.
Joel Rodriguez Padilla, aka Isaias Rodriguez Padilla, 37, has been in custody since his arrest on a Criminal Complaint Oct. 8. The indictment was returned by a federal grand jury Nov. 5. Padilla appeared in U.S. District Court Thursday before a Magistrate Judge where he was arraigned on the indictment. A tentative trial date of Jan. 13 has been set before U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez.
According to court documents, including the indictment and the affidavit in support of the original Criminal Complaint, on Oct. 9, 2013, Padilla, a Mexican national, unlawfully, knowingly and intentionally possess with intent to distribute 50 or more kilograms of marijuana. Further, on that same date, Padilla, an alien, was found in the United States after having been denied admission, deported and removed from the United States. Padilla faces an enhanced penalty because his original deportation occurred due to his conviction for an aggravated felony offense.
The indictment includes an asset forfeiture allegation. Upon conviction, Padilla could be ordered to forfeit the proceeds from his criminal conduct, including $60,365 in currency seized from his Denver home. Padilla also faces the forfeiture of his home, where the money and scores of kilograms of marijuana were found.
The investigation revealed that Padilla had been previously involved in and prosecuted for trafficking 1.5 pounds of methamphetamine in October 2000. Agents also found that Padilla had been deported on a number of different occasions.
"Trafficking in marijuana for illicit sale – here, by a previously deported foreign national – is a serious federal crime," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "This case falls squarely within guidance provided by the Department of Justice for federal prosecution of marijuana offenses."
"Illegal re-entry after deportation and possession with the intent to distribute narcotics are serious federal violations," said Kumar C. Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. "Our HSI special agents routinely partner with law enforcement nationally to help identify, locate, and ultimately pursue prosecution against these individuals. In many cases, these re-entry convictions lead to significantly enhanced prison sentences that help to deter further criminal activity."
If convicted, Padilla faces not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine for possession with intent to distribute more than 50 kilograms of marijuana. If convicted of illegal re-entry of a deported alien subsequent to an aggravated felony conviction, Padilla faces not more than 20 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.
This case was investigated by HSI, the U.S. Forest Service, the Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the North Metro Task Force, and the Westminster Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kirsten Sinclair and Geoffrey Rieman, District of Colorado.
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.